Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County
227 US 27 North, #208, Sebring, FL  33870

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 6, Issue 1 / Jan - Mar, 2017
The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County Started 2017 with a Bang!
March 13, 2017

     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County had a busy beginning of 2017 with two sponsorships.
     The Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet was the first and was held on January 26,2017. The banquet gathered over 700 employers and business leaders in Highlands County and recognized their achievements over the year.  The Highlands County Tobacco Free Partnership decided to sponsor this event because it would give them the opportunity to network with a multitude of business leaders and provide them with information on the benefits of employer cessation and tobacco free workplace policies.
     “We were once again very pleased with the outcome of this sponsorship, as this is the second time we have sponsored this event. We are looking forward to making positive changes in Tobacco Free Worksites in Highlands County,” said Amanda John, Community Health Advocate with QuitDoc Foundation.
     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County and the Highlands County SWAT Chapter also participated in the annual Highlands County Fair from February 10-18th, 2017. The fair has become an annual sponsorship for the TFP and this year the booth was focused on smokeless tobacco. The Highlands County Fair took place over 8 days in Highlands County and included fair rides, an exhibit hall, live stock show, and more.  It captured community members, business leaders, youth and parents from all over the county, who were provided with information on the dangers of smokeless tobacco and secondhand smoke exposure.

The Issue of Smokeless Tobacco
January 17, 2017

     Smokeless tobacco is not burned, contains nicotine and is addictive. Smokeless tobacco is typically called spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, chew, dip, plug, and probably a few other things. Types of smokeless tobacco include:

  • chewing tobacco, which comes in the form of loose leaf, plug, or twist. The most common, loose leaf, is usually packaged in foil pouches. Chewing tobacco is placed between the cheek and gums.
  • snuff is finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or packaged in pouches or packets. Some types of snuff are sniffed or inhaled into the nose; other types are placed in the mouth. Moist snug, the most common, is often called dip. It’s placed between the cheek or lip and gums; it requires spitting. Snus is a newer form of moist snuff used in the United States.
  • dissolvables are finely ground tobacco pressed into shapes such as tablets, sticks, or strips. These products slowly dissolve in the mouth. They come in the form of lozenges, orbs, sticks, and strips.
St. Petersburg City Council Bans Smokeless Tobacco at Rays Games
January 20, 2017

     ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg city council has given final approval to an ordinance banning use of smokeless tobacco products at organized sporting events, including baseball games at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
     The measure approved Thursday not only applies to players, coaches and managers, but anyone attending events at the sports venues around the city and is aimed at discouraging kids from using products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and dip.
     Tropicana Field is among 13 major league stadiums that will be tobacco-free for the 2017 season, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. In addition, baseball’s new labour contract bars smokeless tobacco use for any player with no current major league service.
     The St. Petersburg ordinance covers a wide range of sports and applies to all organized events and competition, amateur or professional.
     Other communities where action has been taken to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston and Washington. Three others -- Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego -- are covered by a statewide law that is to take effect in California before the start of this season.
Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Inches Closer in New Jersey
February 27, 2017
Michael Symons

     Flavored electronic smoking products would be banned in New Jersey, under a proposal advanced Monday by an Assembly committee — but still remains four approvals away from reaching Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.
     Advocates for the plan see it as an extension of New Jersey’s ban on flavored cigarettes enacted in 2008 and say it’s intended to limit the attracting of vaping to younger people. But critics say it would cripple an industry with 350 stores in New Jersey and could send adults back to cigarettes.
     “Our strategy is to try to get people into adulthood mature enough so they never pick up smoking in the first place,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, D-Burlington.
“We’re trying to stop the attraction that these flavors bring to smoking and to the ingestion, if you will, of nicotine,” said Conaway, who said the bill “may need fine tuning” and that he’s willing to listen.
     Corinne Orlando, the American Heart Association director of government relations in New Jersey, said use of electronic cigarettes among students rose 900 percent from 2011 to 2015 – from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. Also, 5 percent of middle school students used e-cigarettes, Orlando said.
     “E-cigarette use is skyrocketing among our youth … and we’re finding that a lot of the times they’re using a flavored product,” Orlando said.
Gainesville, Florida to Ban Tobacco Use
March 2, 2017
Andrew Caplan

     The city of Gainesville is one step closer to banning smoking at all city-owned parks and Regional Transit Systems bus stops.
     Commissioners unanimously approved a first reading of a draft which bans all forms of smoking, including vaping and electronic cigarettes, at locations, while including a $25 fine for offenders.
     "I think when we're having this discussion, the reason we're going to say 'tobacco and smoke free' is because it impedes the other people's rights," Commissioner Craig Carter said.
     The initiative was set forth by the city's parks, recreation and cultural affairs department in hopes of preventing second-hand smoke and to deter young people from picking up the habit.
     Additionally, offenders are subject to fines if caught smoking within 20 feet of any RTS facility or bus stop.
     Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said citizens and kids deserve to have smoke-free parks and public spaces.
     Steve Phillips, the director of the parks department, previously said staff will be on the front line of the effort and monitoring the parks. However, they will not have authority to issue the citations.
     The city will likely allow a grace period for the public to be made aware before citations are issued and will need to approve a second reading of the draft before adopting the ordinance, Phillips said.
Business Groups, Once Tobacco-Friendly, Switch Sides in Fight
February 28, 2017
Jilian Mincer

     The local chamber of commerce is usually a reliable ally in battles against regulation. But when it comes to smoking rules, many business groups have decided they would rather switch than fight.
     Even in states where tobacco has played an important role in the economy - including North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri -chambers have endorsed cigarette tax hikes, raising the smoking age and other efforts to curb tobacco habits.
     The shift has accelerated since 2016, driven by a growing awareness that smoking drives up healthcare costs for employers, business groups said.'
     Smoking restrictions often are part of broader wellness initiatives, such as promoting exercise and nutrition, aimed at improving health - and business.
     "Smoking isn't just killing us, it's bankrupting us," said Ashli Watts, a spokeswoman with the Chamber of Commerce for Kentucky, where one in four adults uses tobacco, the lung cancer rate is the nation's highest and related healthcare and lost productivity costs nearly $5 billion a year.
     "Companies do look at the health of a workforce," Watts said. An unhealthy workforce "is a deterrent."
E-Cig Risk: Teens Who Vape More Likely to Start Smoking Tobacco
February 7, 2017
By Rachael Rettner

     Teens who "vape" in high school are at increased risk for using tobacco cigarettes in the future, a new study found.

     The study discovered that teens who use electronic cigarettes, a practice also referred to as vaping, in the 12th grade were four times more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes within the next year, compared with teens who didn't vape in the 12th grade.
     The findings "contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting vaping as a 'one-way bridge' to cigarette smoking among youth," the researchers wrote in their study, published online today (Feb. 7) in the journal Tobacco Control.
     When using an electronic cigarette, teens inhale vapor that may contain nicotine, as well as flavors such as bubble gum or milk-chocolate cream, the researchers said.
     E-cigarettes are often advertised as safer alternatives to tobacco cigarettes, because the electronic variety's vapor contains fewer chemicals known to be harmful to humans, compared with traditional cigarette smoke. However, researchers are still investigating the health effects of e-cigarettes, and some studies have suggested that e-cigarette use still poses health hazards, such as an increased risk for markers of heart disease.
     Other studies have suggested that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular tobacco cigarettes, compared to teens who don't use e-cigarettes.
Depression Linked to E-Cigarette Use Among College Students
February 13, 2017

HOUSTON – The emergence of e-cigarettes as a nicotine product has left scientists with many questions about their impact on health, including how the product interacts with depression. A new study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), published today in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found a connection between depression and initiation of e-cigarette use among college students.
     “This is the first study to establish a longitudinal relationship between elevated depressive symptoms and e-cigarette use,” said lead author Frank Bandiera, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas.
     Among a sample of 5,445 undergraduate students from 24 colleges across Texas, students who experienced elevated levels of depressive symptoms were significantly more likely than students who did not experience elevated levels of depressive symptoms to start using e-cigarettes six months later. However, e-cigarette use did not appear to lead to elevated depression levels among the students.

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